NJROTC travels for Basic Leadership Training

Gabe Waldbaum, Editor-In-Chief

This October, 30 Staff and Cadets in the JROTC program went to Basic Leadership Training, or B.L.T., at Cispus Learning Center to engage in leadership exercises and physical training. While during other years it has been a boot camp with more focus on learning JROTC facts and information, this year was focused on creating a stronger bond between Staff and Cadets.

“The camp was highly successful from our perspective,” Captain John Deehr said. “[Cadets] had many leadership opportunities and definitely came back more confident after three days of Cispus.”
The Cadets were first organized into barracks and then into platoons. The senior Cadets were part of the staff that helped led younger Cadets in games that taught team-building, communication, and leadership.

The physical training that was done was turned into competitions between platoons. The Cadets in a platoon would link arms and perform pushups and sit ups, and compete on how uniform and how many were done.

“It was eye opening to see how quickly the Cadets grew as leaders,” Cadet Lieutenant Emily Magley said.
One activity the Cadets did was on the high and low ropes courses provided by the learning center. The Staff provided challenges for the Cadets to help with teamwork and increase their confidence by proving to themselves they can do more than they think.

“I believe that they learned a lot more about themselves and each other,” Chief Matthew Spears said. “A lot of it is personal and self-development, and that’s what we preach: self-discipline over self-esteem. They definitely learned that concept there.”

Two years ago, the last time B.L.T. was hosted, the Staff acted like drill sergeants and taught classes on the National Chain of Command, the 11 General Orders, basic naval history, and more.

“B.L.T. has changed a lot from the previous years, but it was for the better,” Cadet Petty Officer Second Class Mikaila Harris said. “I think this year had a much bigger impact on the younger Cadets. They came back and they are a lot more outgoing and are helpful to the Cadets who did not go to B.L.T.”

The event lasted about four days with the Staff and Cadets leaving at 6:00 am Thursday morning and returning on Sunday at 9:00 pm. Everyone who went had to miss Homecoming Weekend.

“Going into B.L.T., I was a bit shaky on how effective it was going to be, especially since our numbers were lower this year due to the Homecoming confliction, but I think Cadets and Staff had a great time and those who went are a much tighter group now,” Cadet Lieutenant Commander Luke Ransom said.